Clowns’ slapstick is their primary mode of performance and allows them to provoke audiences to laughter wherever they perform. This innovative book, focussing on contemporary practice in the USA and Europe over the last 50 years, investigates the nature and function of clown performance in modern society. Through analysis of clowning in a range of settings - theatre, the circus, hospitals, refugee camps and churches - Peacock establishes a theoretical framework for the evaluation of physical comedy.Peacock explores clowning that takes place outside of conventional venues, and also the therapeutic potential of clowning in clown doctor organisations, refugee camps and war zones. Serious Play: Modern Clown Performance is the first book of its kind to consider clowning performance venues and performance styles in the light of Play Theory, including comparisons of traditional clown comedy with contemporary circuses such as Circus OZ and Cirque du Soleil, and an in-depth look at famous clowns such as Nola Rae and Slava Polunin.
Louise Peacock is a lecturer in drama at the University of Hull.